BAILEY, DEFORD (FAMOUS) - St. Clair County, Missouri | DEFORD (FAMOUS) BAILEY - Missouri Gravestone Photos

Deford (FAMOUS) BAILEY

Osceola Cemetery
St. Clair County,
Missouri

Dec 14, 1899 Smith County, TN
Jul 2, 1982 Nashville, TN

He was an American country music and blues star from the 1920s until 1941. He was the first performer to be introduced on the Grand Ole Opry and the first African-American performer on the show. He played several instruments but is best known for his harmonica tunes.
Born to a sharecropping family, the grandson of slaves, a childhood bout of Polio caused Baily to spend an extended amout of time bedridden. He used that time to develop his harmonica-playing talent.
By 1925, Bailey was working odd jobs around Nashville and gaining a reputation as the Hitchcock Building's harmonica-playing elevator operator. That same year, he was asked to join the old-time music cast of the city's first radio station, WDAD. Station-mate Dr. Humphrey Bate, a respected string band leader, later convinced Bailey to jump to the competition, WSM.
Without an audition, Bailey debuted on-air for the pre-Opry WSM Barn Dance in the summer of '26. He instantly won the approval of Hay, who'd rechristen his discovery "the harmonica wizard."

Contributed on 5/20/20 by tomtodd
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Record #: 825474

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Submitted: 5/20/20 • Approved: 5/20/20 • Last Updated: 5/23/20 • R825474-G0-S3

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